Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Some of the funny moments from the Olympics in Tokyo

I am back at home and totally jet lagged. Not only from the flight and the time change, but also from running at that crazy Olympic pace for 3 weeks. But as I look back on the experience, I feel so lucky to have been in Tokyo for the Olympics, and to have all the experiences I did.

Even though I posted about 40 blog posts from the Games, there were some really funny moments which never made the blog, and I just had to share them with you.

Me changing jobs

Almost every day of the Olympics, I would end up shooting water polo right next to the Aussies who were shooting video for the Olympic Broadcast System (OBS). They were super nice guys and we always had fun during the breaks. On one of the days I jokingly said "Hey, we should switch jobs. I will shoot the video and you can shoot the still images." The next thing I know, I was being educated on how to work the boom. It was very cool - and all manual focus!

I wasn't the only cable in the bathroom

I was in the press bathroom more than once a day for numerous weeks in the water polo venue before I noticed this cabling that was running over one of the stalls. I guess I was not the only cable in the room at the time.

The nice dinner that never happened

There was one night when Greg (from USA Water Polo) and another friend and I were done with everything and thought we would get some dinner in Tokyo. We had been in Japan for 14 days and were looking forward to getting out of the Olympic bubble and having a nice Japanese dinner. 

Unfortunately, it was way past 8pm and most everything was closed (due to the state of emergency). But we did stumble upon this cool gold medal display. 

Instead of having a nice dinner, we ended up all going back to our respective hotels and getting food at the only place that was open,  the local 7-11. 

USA vs Spain - The duel

The men of USA Water Polo were about to have a game against the men from Spain. I got to the venue early (as always) and ran into this photographer from Spain. We had a great time talking and then decided to take this photo of us squaring off. We ended up losing the game. Good thing I didn't place any bets. I should mention that during all the stress of the Olympics, all of us photographers get along really well, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

A breakfast without chicken?

For more than twenty days, we ate the same breakfast with chicken, rice and miso soup. It was the running joke when we arrived every morning and said "Oh wow - chicken for breakfast this morning!" Well...a couple of times, they changed it up on us and served hamburger. I tried many times to get an omelette and was repeatedly told "we only serve those for lunch". Classic!

You know you are tired when...

Less than a week ago, I got dressed in the morning and went down to breakfast. I ate and then returned to my room to pack up. I got everything ready for the day and went outside to wait for the press bus. I got on that bus and then another, and traveled for 45 minutes to the Main Press Center (MPC). It was hours later that I was walking and noticed a tag sticking out of my shirt. Yep - I had been wearing my shirt inside out the entire first part of the day. I was slightly embarrassed, but then just laughed about it. I ducked into the closest bathroom and put the shirt on correctly. Nobody even noticed (since we are all exhausted). Or they did and never said anything. 

And no, I do NOT have a picture of this. :)

Speaking of being tired

By the third week of the Olympics, just about anything goes. We are all so wiped out, that people will try to sleep anywhere. I saw this guy catching some Zs on one of the hard seats in the MPC and just had to shoot a picture.

Canon's favorite images

I was walking by the Canon booth in the MPC and was looking at the photos they were highlighting. "Not bad!" I thought. I was literally walking away before I noticed that four of them were mine. 

Where is everyone?

It was the last couple of days of the Olympics and I was a bit brain dead. After shooting water polo, I was excited to go and photograph the new Olympic sport of Skateboarding. Earlier in the day, I saw that they were posting updates from that sport, but did not think anything of it. I took a bus to the venue, and I was the only one who got off. I thought that was weird. After walking for a couple of minutes to get to the venue I was was greeted by a volunteer who basically said to me "Why are you here?" The event had been that morning (not an evening event) and it was all done. Ooops! But the good news was...I caught this amazing sunset, before heading off to the Sport Climbing venue to photograph there.

My room with a view

You may recall my story about moving a lot of the furniture from my room to the hallway (to make space for my camera gear and clothing)...

That furniture stayed out there for three weeks. For all I know, it is still in the hallway.

And I forgot to tell you all about my amazing view out the window. Yep, this is it. I looked out to the building next door. 

The 408 coincidence

At home I live in the 408 area code, so when I checked into the hotel and they told me I was in room 408, I laughed and thought "I won't forget that." The last day of the Olympics, I was using my last free Taxi ticket, and asked the volunteers if they could call a cab for me. They did so, and as was the custom, they handed me a small piece of paper with the taxi number (so I knew which one was mine). What was that taxi number? 408 of course.

Maggie took my phone, but I had her gold medal!

Hours after the women of USA Polo had won the gold medal, we were having fun on the pool deck. I was taking portraits of all the team members and having a good time too.  I asked Maggie Steffens (captain of the team) if I could wear her gold medal, and then she grabbed my phone and took this selfie of us. Needless to say, we were all smiles!

Well folks, I hope that you all got a good laugh from all of this. I know I did!


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flwong said...

Is a good laugh for me. Well done chief

Unknown said...

Thanks you for all your wonderful posts. I felt like I was there with you.

Rene Lynn said...

Thank you for all the memories. And that sunset was amazing!

Bill Ferris said...

Congrats on surviving three weeks of non-stop at the 32nd Olympiad, Jeff. You made and shared some amazing photos. I recognize three of your photos on the Canon board: fencing, water polo,and that amazing volleyball moment through the net. If I had to guess the fourth, it would be one of the BMX photos... the one with the rings in the background.

David McKellar said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing photos and experiences of the games, much appreciated!

Unknown said...

Loved your pictures, and loved your stories. Thanks so much for sharing! I love taking pictures of all sports its so much fun.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful images and the background of life during the Olympics. Really hit home ... a few years back I was the "official" photog for our son's water polo team (WA state champs!!) and the girl's water polo team (WA state champs)!! And, to make it even better, I lived 4+ years in Tokyo in the early 90's (Yokota Air Base). Lots of memories. Well done!!

Rhonda said...

It’s been a lot of fun following along with you! Thanks for all the posts!

Jodi Newell said...

Jeff, I was traveling in Iceland for most of the Olympics, so I just spent a few hours reading your July and August blogs. You are one super human and amazing photographer! Thank you for all the Olympic blogs and back stories.

Jodi Newell